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cOAlition S response to the ERC Scientific Council’s statement on Open Access and Plan S


cOAlition S has taken note that the ERC Scientific Council wishes to pursue their joint efforts towards Open Access in a more independent way. The European Commission, who directs the Horizon Europe Framework Programme, continues to support cOAlition S and Plan S.

cOAlition S remains firm in its view that support for hybrid journals has failed to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access over the past two decades. The already scarce funding in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme should not be used for the payment of publication fees in hybrid journals. Indeed, outside of transformative agreements, the hybrid model has no effective means to keep double-dipping by publishers in check. For this reason, many European countries, from Germany to Hungary, have recently put in place transformative agreements with publishers.

Maintaining the current status quo on hybrid journals will exacerbate inequalities among European researchers, since only those that benefit from generous funding will be able to cover expensive publication fees. In contrast, the cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy which provides Open Access in compliance with Plan S via the repository route, will empower all researchers to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription and hybrid journals.

cOAlition S is particularly attentive to the concerns of Early Career Researchers (ECR). We are grateful for the support of many ECR organisations, including the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Global Young Academy (GYA), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE). These organisations are closely collaborating with cOAlition S in order to further shape Plan S, to monitor its implementation, and to evaluate potential effects for the next generation of researchers.

In 2018, the ERC Scientific Council was involved in drafting Plan S, and in 2019 they warmly welcomed the updated Plan S and implementation guidelines. We are confident that there is broad agreement on our respective approaches and that the cOAlition S’ and the ERC Scientific Council’s strategies towards Open Access will eventually converge.

cOAlition S Organisations remain united in working together towards more open and equitable academic publishing.